Alex Rivera/Staff Writer
Nearly a week after the Panther’s baseball schedule was released, the softball schedule was also released, and with it are the four regular season tournaments the Panthers will take part in.
The season will start Thursday February 6th at 5pm with the Felsberg invitational at home as the Panthers take on University of California Bears, marking the first time the two schools played against one another.
The next day the Panthers will play a double header; the first game against Penn State and the second against Michigan State. Saturday will see the conclusion of the invitational, with FIU taking on Syracuse at 3pm.
The next tournament, hosted by USF, will have FIU play a double header on February 21st against Tennessee, followed by their first game against USF.
The two sides have not played each other since 2006. The next day the Panthers will play another double header, with the first game being against UCF, followed by the second game against USF. Finally, FIU will finish the tournament against hosts USF on February 23rd, at 9:30 am.
During spring break, the Panthers will go to Longwood, Florida to take part in spring games, and will see play on February 28th, with a double header against Dartmouth and Kentucky.
The last time FIU played Dartmouth was in 2014, when they won the two games of the series. As for Kentucky, FIU has lost the last three games against Wildcats in 2013. Leap Day will see another double header, against Detroit Mercy who they have yet to lose to, and Albany who they have yet to ever play. .
The Panthers will play Western Michigan at 9:30am the next day before leaving the tournament. FIU has only played Western Michigan once, winning the game in 2011.
For their final regular season tournament, the Panther Invitational, will see the Panthers play four games at home against four different opponents. Starting Thursday March 5th, FIU will take on Tulsa, looking for their first win against the Hurricane after losing their first two meetings in 2012.
Friday will see the Panthers play against Ball State, their last meeting being in 2017. The Panthers have won every game against Ball State played in the state of Florida (four), with their only loss coming in 2014.
Saturday will feature a double header, the first game against Samford being the first meeting of the two teams. The second game, will be against Maryland, a side FIU has never lost against.
Six days later, C-USA play begins. The Panthers will leave Florida for the first time this season to play Marshall in a weekend series. Last year, the Panthers were able to win the series at home, but lost their last game 7-1.
The next weekend series will be played at home against UTEP, a side that the Panthers have historically struggled to find victory against. Since the two started play in 2015, with ten games having been played, FIU has only ever won a game once. Their last game ending with an 11-3 loss in El Paso.
After UTEP, another road trip, this time to Bowling Green, Kentucky to play a weekend series against Western Kentucky. Unlike the overall series with UTEP, FIU against WKU has been fairly even, both teams winning four games, although it is FIU that finds themselves losing the last four meetings.
Returning home, FIU begins a six game homestand. The first series will be against Middle Tennessee, starting on April 6th at 6pm. Historically, FIU has won 22 of the 31 meetings against Middle Tennessee, but have lost the last five games against the Blue Raiders, but they have won the last series held at home.
The second half of the homestand will have the Panthers play against the Charlotte 49ers. The last series the two played, FIU lost the two games. However, the Panthers have never lost a home series against the 49ers and have won four series against the 49ers outright.
For the second time this season, the Panthers will face a C-USA West side, this time against North Texas in Denton, Texas. The Panthers lost every game against North Texas in their last series, but hold a 10-4 away record as well as holding the overall record at 23 wins, 16 losses and three ties.
For the last time this season, the Panthers will play a home series against FAU. The series between the two is fairly even, with the Panthers hold a slight advantage: 21 wins, 20 losses and two ties. Last year, the series was played in Boca Raton, and the Panthers left winning the series.
FIU takes a break from C-USA play as they head to Fort Myers to play a double header against FGCU on April 29th. Against the Eagles, FIU has not lost a game since 2016, and hold the overall record at 17 wins and six losses. As for series, FIU has not lost a series to FGCU since 2009.
Finally, FIU will go to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for their last series, and to conclude C-USA play against Southern Miss. In their only six meetings, FIU has only lost once. The last time the Panthers played in Hattiesburg was in 2014 when they swept the series.
When it comes to advancing to the post season conference tournament, the Panthers need to do well against Charlotte, FAU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, and WKU. The top three in the C-USA East are guaranteed a spot. Winning those matchups would help FIU secure their place, as well and transfer the losses to their conference rivals. There are two wild card spots available for teams from either West or East divisions based on winning percentages. Last season the three C-USA East spots were taken by Middle Tennessee, Marshall and WKU; and the two wild card spots were won by C-USA West teams.